Bishop Olmsted: A Bishop With A Backbone!

“There Cannot Be A Tie In This Debate”

By Susan Brinkman, OCDS

Women of Grace- Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix is planning to strip a local medical center of its Catholic status tomorrow if it does not meet his demands to guarantee compliance with Church teachings.

The Arizona Republic is reporting that Bishop Olmsted sent a letter on Nov. 22 to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, the same hospital where Sister Margaret McBride gave approval for an abortion to be performed on a woman allegedly suffering from pulmonary hypertension last year. In the letter, the bishop is demanding that the hospital comply with Catholic health-care rules, educate its medical staff on those rules, and acknowledge what is the correct Church position on the abortion that took place. If the hospital’s parent company, Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), does not agree to these demands by tomorrow, he will strip the facility of its Catholic status.

“There cannot be a tie in this debate,” Olmsted wrote. “Until this point in time, you have not acknowledged my authority to settle this question…”

“Your actions communicate to me that you do not respect my authority to authentically teach and interpret moral law in this diocese,” he writes. (Emphasis added.)

If our bishops had shown such firm resolve dealing with predator priests who raped adolescent boys, there is no telling what better repair Holy Church would be in these days. God grant us more bishops like Olmstead.

Would you let Courageous Priest know if you agree with Bishop’s Olmsted’s ultimatum to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

P.S. – Would you do Courageous Priest a favor and share this info with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Email right now? We truly appreciate it. Or leave a comment, we would love to hear what you think.

37 comments to Bishop Olmsted: A Bishop With A Backbone!

  • nvrbl

    No disrespect intended but is it legal to let a woman die?

  • Bill


    Let’s see. If the Pope make a statement that you folks happen to agree with, Catholic have to obey it, i.e. the alleged ban on contraception, but if he make a statement that you might disagree with i.e. the transplant statement we don’t have to obey it. Sounds like cafeteria Catholicism to me.

  • Oh, I almost forgot something, Bill. I noticed in your comment in the Contraception post, you mentioned that the Pope was not speaking ex cathedra in Humanae Vitae. I hope you were not meaning to imply that in this case, Pope John Paul II was speaking ex cathedra, when he was actually speaking at the International Congress on Organ Transplants.

    God bless you, Bill.

  • Bill, it is good to see that you did some homework about the Church’s teaching on vital organ donation. However, did you know that in February of 2005, Pope John Paul II asked for the Pontifical Academy for the Sciences to review the criterion for establishing brain death?

    If you take his quote at its surface value, it is true. However, it appears that there are some who have introduced confusion about determining true death. In 1968, a Harvard committee established criteria for establishing when “irreversible coma” has occurred.

    These guidelines have developed into what we commonly refer to today as “brain death.” In the history of man, would you agree that a little over 40 years of a method of defining death is fairly new? Back in 1985 and 1989, when the Pontifical Academy for the Sciences initially reviewed the issue of brain death, they did not have nearly as much data to analyze as we do today. Even so, the Academy members are not unanimous in their analysis of “brain death.”

    Our technology does not measure all neurologic activity, only the outer 1-2 cm of brain matter. As Bishop Bruskewitz put it, “Do we have, then, moral certitude in any way that can be called apodictic, regarding even the existence, much less the cessation, of brain activity?”

    I will leave you with two lines of questions:

    1. Who has the financial gain in establishing this new way to measure death? What was behind this clinical diagnosis other than organ harvesting? What measures are being taken to handle the inherent conflict of interest of the medical teams (assuring they are not violating the Fifth Commandment while still trying to preserve integrity of vital organs)?

    2. If a person is truly dead, why is it necessary to administer anesthesia to harvest vital organs? If a person is dead, he or she should not have any reaction to his or her organs being surgically removed from the body. Yet, if anesthesia is not administered, the bodies of the donors move and there are reactions in blood pressure. How can cadavers be able to move or have blood pressure?

  • Bill

    In 1985 and 1989 the Pontifical Academy of Science studied the question of brain death and concluded that neurological criteria are the most appropriate criteria for determining the death of a human being. In the academy’s view, one really should not speak of “brain death”—as if only the brain had died—but rather of the death of the human being, which may be determined neurologically.

    In 2000 Pope John Paul II expressed support for organ donation and the use of neurological criteria. He wrote: “The criterion adopted in more recent times for ascertaining the fact of death, namely the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity, if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology.” He concluded that “a health worker professionally responsible for ascertaining death can use these criteria….” Moreover, he strongly reasserted his support for organ donation, calling it a “genuine act of love” and noting that he had earlier called it a “way of nurturing a genuine culture of life.”

  • Dear Bill,

    Regarding the state of Arizona cutting off funding for transplants, it is indeed a right to life issue. Please do listen to the following sermon regarding organ transplatation. The issues concerning life will surprise you. It surely surprised me! God bless you, Bill.

    There are other sermons on there which may address some other questions you have posted elsewhere on this site.

  • Bill

    The state of Arizona has cut off funds for transplants and Bishop Olmsted has remained silent. Wouldn’t some of you folks call this a right to life issue?

  • […] One CHW Hospital Recently Was Stripped of Its Catholic Status by Bishop Thomas Olmsted […]

  • […] One CHW Hospital Recently Was Stripped of Its Catholic Status by Bishop Thomas Olmsted […]

  • Bill

    I am sorry, but your comment did not pass the charity test. I have deleted it. You are more than welcome to charitably express your views here.

    May God bless you, Bill.
    John Quinn

  • Bill


    I forgot to mention that I have reinstated the Catholic status of St. Joseph’s Hospital, lifted the excommunication of the nun in charge, and defrocked Bishop Olmsted in pectore.

  • Bill

    PAUL VI got in wrong with HV. His own commission was for the pill. The Holy Spirit works through people other than those wearing a Roman Collar.

    Primacy of conscience came out of Vatican II. God gave me a brain and I will decide what is right or wrong. I don’t intend follow these clowns especially when they get so many things wrong.

    Defending the unborn is important, but unfortunately Bishop Bumpstead got this wrong. The intent of the act was to save the mother.

    • Hi Bill. Thank you for commenting on our blog. However, I would like to address a couple of issues.

      1) The Holy Spirit does work through ordinary laymen and women. However, only the bishops in union with the Pope have the authority on earth to teach on matters of faith and morals. When the Pope and bishops in union with him speak on matters of faith and morals we can be absolutely sure that the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, is speaking through them. Now I must ask you Bill, how can the Holy Spirit be speaking one truth through the Church, and another truth through a person like yourself. Well Bill, I will tell you that God cannot be divided against Himself, and that any spirit telling one to openly rebel against the teaching of His Church is not the Holy Spirit, but a lying and deceiving spirit. When the Holy Spirit works through ordinary laymen and women you can be assured that the laymen and women are obedient to Christ and His Church. The quintessential sin is pride and the quintessential virtue is humility. Here are a couple of equations you may wish to pray about:
      a) Pride = Disobedience = Death
      b) Humility = Obedience = Life

      2) Bill, do you know that every Bishop and Priest is a representative of Christ on earth, and every word we speak against these good priests we will one day have to answer for before the throne of Almighty God. Please keep this in mind and please pray and do penance for all of our Beloved Priests regardless of whether you may think they are good or bad.

      3) And finally Bill, the primacy of conscience does not trump Church Teaching. The Truth of God is reflected in the Church’s Teachings on Faith and Morals. The Truth cannot change because people do not agree with one or more of the Church’s teachings. Disagreeing with the Church does not make one’s opinion truth, it only makes it one’s opinion.

      Please pray for us and our Apostolate Bill, and be assured of our prayers for you.

      God Bless you,

      Jeff Gares

  • Bill

    Many thanks for you site. I’ve been trying to compile a list of America’s worst Bishops and you’ve done it for me.


    Oh Bill…

    What more can I say but my heartfelt “Thank You!”

    I am striving to be like St. Paul, however poorly, “to be all things to all men.”

    I hope you don’t mind a few questions about what makes these the worst Bishops:

  • Is it because they are against abortifacient contraceptive pills and devices?
  • Is it because they don’t ascribe to the “primacy of conscience” over the teachings of the Catholic Church?
  • Is it because their number one “social justice” issue is the defense of the truly helpless unborn?
  • Peace and prayers for you. You have made my heart smile more than you can imagine.

    John Quinn

  • DK

    I think those defending this Bishop are very misguided. It was the doctors medical professional judgement that either the mother AND baby would both die, or they could save the mother . So it wasn’t a choice to abort as much as a choice to save a life. I believe Jesus himself would have supported the decision to save a life instead of just watching both of them die, and I think this Bishop is like the early pharisees who Jesus accused of living the letter of the law instead of the heart. This “Bishop”, who also refused to baptize an autistic child, is more concerned with controlling and punishing flock then loving as Jesus called him. He’s a failure of a Christian and many of you are following his path.

  • Dear Bishop Olmsted,

    You and The Church are 100% correct in this matter. There is no room for discussion. The 10 Commandments are set in stone. The doctrine of The Church must be adhered to or the Hospital cannot be called “Catholic” . . . and the Catholic Health Association is not Catholic unless it follows Church Doctrine.

    No man can serve two masters. Neither can a hospital nor a hospital association.

    The Didache [also referred to as The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles], the oldest extant manual of church order, dating from the late first or early second century states: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.” The bishops at the Second Vatican Council declared that, as Catholics, we believe what the Church authoritatively teaches on matters of faith and morals, for to hear the voice of the Church on those matters is to hear the voice of Christ himself. [Lumen Gentium, No. 25; Mysterium Ecclesiae, No. 2]

    Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit guides the Church and protects it from error. We believe that the Roman Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, is the successor of Peter, the Rock on whom Jesus Christ has built his Church, and is not just another man who is entitled to his opinions on faith. We believe that we are called to trust the Spirit to guide the Church, so we do not pick and choose among her teachings.

    God Bless and Protect you, Bishop Olmsted.

  • carmen

    so proud of this bishop wish he was my bishop!

  • Jeanne

    Thank you, your excellency! May God bless you for leading in a courageous and holy way.

  • This one came from an email subscriber, I decided to post separately. You will see why.
    John Quinn

    I not only agree with Bishop Olmsted, I only wish he was running the Rockford diocese when my child filed charges of abuse against a known pedophile. Rather, the diocese chose to further abuse my son,by the “bishop’s” henchman, in the most diabolical way…my precious son, who wanted to be a priest at one time, will not walk into a Catholic Church…even for his Granny and Grandpa’s funeral. I only wish the church would offer weekly Masses for all of those innocent souls who are so filled with angst and betrayal. I’m sure there are many mothers like me, who like St. Monica, will spend the rest of our lives praying for our children, their lost innocence and their eternal life.

    God Bless you Bishop Olmsted.

    A heartbroken mother

  • OK, I have received a ton of emails on this post. I am going to copy and paste them here. I left out last names.

    Dear Courageous Priest:

    My wife and I totally agree with Bishop Olmstead’s stance.

    His Excellency’s position reflects the correct moral teachings of Holy Mother Church.

    We will keep both Bishop Olmstead, and the management of St. Joseph’s Hospital, in our prayers for a righteous outcome.

    May God Bless,
    John R

    Praise be to God for Bishop Olmsted’s courage to stand for the truth as taught by Holy Mother Church! If we had more bishops (and other clergy) like him, our Church would be in better shape.
    God bless.
    Annie B

    Certainly we agree with Bishop Olmsted. We hope he was aware of the trouble he would be in by being an American Bishop in union with Rome.

    Here in Tucson at St Mary’s Hospital and appendages, euthanasia is being practiced openly and forcefully and has been for years. They even have a name for it, “The Exit Treatment”.
    Ted S

    TOTALLY AGREE. If the Catholic Church did not take action, that would so so incorrect.

    I AGREE!!! God Bless this Bishop and protect him, in Jesus’ name…
    C. McGuire

    Agree 110%!!!! Praise God for His truly faithful servant.


    I absolutely agree with the Bishop on this!! I pray for more Bishops and Priests to take a firm stand in teaching Catholic truths. Thank you Bishop Olmstead!
    Dee, Casper, WY.

    JOAN C

    Thanks to Bishop Olmsted. I am an R.N. and worked in
    a Catholic Hospital for 40+ years. Never would I have
    imagined that such shananighans were going on in this hospital. I would have resigned on the spot.
    God bless him.
    Beverly Boston, MA

    I definitely support Bishop Olmsted’s request that St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center must follow the moral teachings of the Catholic Church or loose their Catholic status. I will back him 100%. We truly need more Bishops who are not afraid to stand up for truth and defend the teachings of the Catholic Church….which are the teachings of Jesus Christ himself!

    Thank-you for this article and God Bless!

    Jesus, I Trust in You.

    We love Bishop Olmsted here in Tucson. Gives us great hope.
    I pray that each and every church leader would be so firm and have so much resolve.
    This is the leadership our dear church needs, from clear Catholic teaching.
    THANK YOU Bishop Olmsted!

    Deb in Tucson

    Absolutely agree. I pray that the Holy Spirit will come with His power to all Bishops and make them fearless in their mandate to speak the truth

    Yes, I agree with the bishop on this issue.
    Mary Ann

    Thank you for sharing with us the action of Bishop Olmsted, the Bishop With Backbone! Thank God for him, we need more like him. For some time it seems the clergy have been afraid of angering the lay people; well, stop it! Just as the best parents are loved MORE by the children who are rightly disciplined, so are we in the Church more respectful of those who do their duty and guide us faithfully.
    Carol D.

    I cannot speak to the medical necessity argued in the case cited, but I agree with the action of the Bishop to demand an accounting. Pulmonary hypertension is a very serious condition and I don’t know what the treatment options are for it, or what the consequences might have been for the mother in this case.

    We are in complete agreement with Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted as regards the teachings of the Catholic Church and the consequences for not following the rules regarding our faith. We will pray for his mission and that we will be blessed with more faithful who will stand for the faith. We will share this information with as many people as we can.

    God bless!

    Steve & Sally

    Thank God for Bishop Olmsted! I have worked in a Catholic hospital for the last 23 years and have dreaded the day( that I hope never comes!) when I would witness the worlds view take over my hospital. We are now “managed” by secular administration and the Nuns are no longer involved in our daily operations. Their leaving left a huge void in the spiritual healing of our patients and staff.
    I pray that if we move closer to just another secular institution that our Bishop would show such courage and correct any infraction.
    God bless you, Bishop Olmsted!

    I definitely agree with Bishop Olmsted!! I just wish we could have all authorities in the Church firm with Church teaching.
    Judy D

    I totally agree with the Bishop! I’d so appreciate
    him as my Archbishop!

    Agree. 100 %.The local bishop has the authority.

    I agree with Bishop Olmsted. God grant him the graces he deserves. In today times it is difficult to stand up to these fighters. He is in fact courageous and righteous. God bless him and you for spreading the information.


    Dear Courageous Priest,
    I agree 100% with Bishop Olmstread to strip St. Joseph’s Hospital of its Catholic status if it does not meet his demands to guarantee compliance with Church teachings. I wish more Bishops had his courage and stood up for the Truth. Praise God for a Bishop with backbone!
    Barbara S

    I absolutely support Bishop Olmsted’s ultimatum to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, and I applaud his courage in taking this stand. I can only hope that our other bishops will be strengthened by his example and will speak out with courage and conviction on the errors that have been creeping into our Catholic Church.

    Julie G

    I agree whole-heartedly with the Bishop! And I salute him for having the courage and the guts to do the right thing and put down the wrong! He is a breath of fresh air! God bless him, and I’m sure He will!

    I’m proud to be a Catholic when I see this holy man take up this cross on his shoulders and go with it. Kudos to him! And many, many blessings!
    Sincerely in Christ,
    Arline K.
    Daytona Beach, FL

    Just to let you know that I absolutely agree with his position. Heaven wants us to stop the abortion war. It grieves Our Lady and Our Creator greatly that precious lives are thought so little of. God Bless you.

    Ingrid B.

  • Lois

    May God abundantly bless His faithful servant Bishop Olmsted.

  • Fred

    Thank you Bishop Olmsted for not allowing this Catholic hospital to operate as an abortion facility. Thank you for being the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

  • Michael

    A true Apostle of Our Divine Lord, yes Bishop, be strong as the eleven who stay to the very end, yes we in the Catholic Church have many Judas today, more so than any other time in history of our Church, who sold Our Divine Lord for thirty pieces of silver and today they sell our Divine Lord for more, for comfort, for title, for fame and glory.

    But their time shall come and all of the very glory they seek will be their curse, it all amount to straw and nothing but straw, to be burn in the everlasting fire of hell.

    Keep up the true virtue of Jesus!!!

  • richard

    Praise God for our Bishop—the Diocese of Phoenix is truly Blessed to have a man of his courage, humility, & wisdom. PS–Bishop Olmsted often participates in praying the Rosary @ abortion centers.
    “Jesus I Trust In You”

  • amanda

    “Would you let Courageous Priest know if you agree with Bishop’s Olmsted’s ultimatum to St. Joseph’s Hospital.”

    Yes, I do!

  • Julie

    Were the Bishops and Priests more able to display boldness of spirit….so would go the laity, the congregation and the church. Thanks be to God for boldness of spirit and siding with truth. Because, siding with truth means we truly hear his voice. Thank you Bishop Olmstead for “leading” by example and defending the Catholic faith.

  • Mary Ann

    God bless the good bishop. I hope he knows there are faithful Catholics who support him.

  • Wendy

    FINALLY! A bishop who doesnt go weak in the knees when action clearly needs to be taken. Thank you Bishop Olmstead for your courage and fidelity!

  • Maria Rutherford

    Thank you, Your Excellency, for being a good shepherd to us. Is it a very scary world we live in and we need to see our Bishops standing up for Truth, for God. If you don’t we will be scattered and left for the wolves.

    Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Kim

    I am so proud of our Bishop!! He is a humble and loving man that never fails to speak the truth. Bishop Olmsted is a man that allows Gods Spirit to work through him and stands true the teaching of the church and to our Lord. Thanks you Bishop Olmsted for being such a great example!!

  • Susan Schwartz

    Thank you for leading the flock who has gone astray.

  • Your Excellency:
    Thank you for defending our Catholic faith.

  • Marshall Hopper

    This is how Catholicism differentiates itself from “Catholic-light”. Catholicism is founded on immutable Truths and “thou shalt not kill” is one of them. It is not relativistic and it is not democratic. Real Catholics stand up and be counted!

  • Teresa

    How very encouraging and refreshing to see a Bishop stand strong for Catholic values. God Bless Bishop Olmstead for taking a stand for the Church of Christ! We can ill afford to lay down and play dead when the heretics in the Church insist on so blatantly polluting it with their secular agenda. Why do I so strongly get the feeling sometimes that they are trying to hijack the Catholic faith? Never in our history was it more important that we fight for the Church of Christ……..NEVER.

  • Dan Perlinger

    I just wanted to say a big thank you for standing up for our Catholic beliefs.

  • Tom

    Dear Excellency

    I often wonder why so many of my brothers and sister in the Church adopt virtually non-Catholic views. Are we not bound to follow the teachings of the Magisterium in matters of faith and morals ? How could the Church ever condone abortion or other serious sins? I say that’s impossible. We are not politicians nor ‘approval seekers’ nor lacking in our pursuit of Heavenly ways (holiness). Catholics are not relativists rather we are strangers in this world on pilgrimage to heaven. As Our Lord mentions “Be perfect as My Heavenly Father is perfect” “Sell all that you have; deny your very self; take up your cross and follow me” These words are not mine. I do not say that I am perfect. On the contrary I am sinner and nothing compared to Our Beloved Master. However, I hope that many others besides myself want to try and follow Him (as He commands). I believe that a bishop (like yourself) should never feel isolated for defending our faith. Dear Excellency! I beg forgiveness for those who are not walking with you! I can only say that Our Lord promises those persecuted for His Sake a share in His Kingdom. I know that you are already aware of this promise and are a living example of obedience and love of His Majesty. I pray that you will receive the grace and fellowship of our brothers and sister for proclaiming the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Yours in Christ Jesus

    May God Bless and Keep us in His Loving Arms

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